Monday, December 7, 2015

"CHARMED" RETROSPECT: (1.22) "Déjà Vu All Over Again"

"CHARMED" RETROSPECT: (1.22) "Déjà Vu All Over Again"

When I first saw (1.22) "Déjà Vu All Over Again", the Season One finale for "CHARMED", I promised myself that I would never watch another episode of the series again. Never. Yet four months later, I broke my promise and resumed watching the series for another three-and-a-half seasons. 

One would assume that I harbor some very negative feelings about "Déjà Vu All Over Again". And that person would be wrong. From an artistic point-of-view, the episode was first-rate. Not only do I consider "Déjà Vu All Over Again" to be one of the best Season One episodes, I believe it is one of the best episodes of the series. And yet . . . after watching it, I was ready to give up the series. The ending upset me very much.

Directed by Les Sheldon and written by Constance Burge and Brad Kern, "Déjà Vu All Over Again" began with Phoebe Halliwell experiencing a premonition of the most deadly kind. She saw a demonic attack result in the death of her oldest sister's former boyfriend, Andy Trudeau of the San Francisco Police Department. And the demon in question happened to be one Inspector Rodriguez, who was established as a member of the police department's Internal Affairs in previous episodes investigating Andy's connection to the Halliwell sisters. Determined to prevent Andy's death, Prue warns Andy that Rodriguez is a demon who has plans to kill her and her sisters - the Charmed Ones. As Rodriguez makes plans to kill the Charmed Ones, he receives a visit from a high-level demon named Tempus. The latter reveals he has the ability to turn back time and was sent by The Source to help Rodriguez kill the Halliwells. 

Mind you, "Déjà Vu All Over Again" had its flaws. In one conversation between Rodriguez and Tempus, the latter instructed the younger demon to make sure that all three Halliwells were gathered in the same place before killing them. Frankly, this sounds rather stupid to me. Surely, anyone with intelligence would know that the Halliwells were at their strongest when they were together. For me, it made better sense to kill the Halliwells one by one. After all, the sisters cannot stay in each other's company, 24/7, unless they want to forgo a life. And why did Rodriguez even bother to appear at the Halliwells' front door in the first place? He could have simply teleported inside the manor and kill the sisters a lot faster. According to(1.03) "Thank You For Not Morphing, Piper was born three years before Phoebe. And according to (1.17) "That 70s Episode", Phoebe was born in late 1975, making Piper's birth year 1972. Phoebe remembered that Piper's old classmate, Joanne Hertz, had graduated from their high school in 1992, making her birth year at least 1974. Why would Piper recall someone who graduated two years after her?

Aside from Tempus' suggestion that Rodriguez gather all three Halliwell sisters in one place before killing them, the flaws in "Déjà Vu All Over Again" seemed minor to me. In other words, the virtues outweighed the flaws. Burge and Kern nearly outdid themselves in an episode that served as the end of the first stage in the Halliwells' lives as the Charmed Ones. The episode also marked the end of what I consider to be the best romance featured in the entire series - that between Prue Halliwell and Andy Trudeau. Another interesting aspect about this episode is that it marked one of the rare occasions in which the sisters tragically failed to avert one of Phoebe's premonitions. Rodriguez made three attempts to kill the Charmed Ones, thanks to Tempus' time changing ability. If it had not been for Tempus, Rodriguez would have been dead after his first try. And so would Phoebe. After his second try, Rodriguez ended up dead again, thanks to Prue's telekinesis. But he ended up killing both Phoebe and Piper before his death. On his third try . . . Phoebe's premonition came true, when Rodriguez killed Andy. Is it any wonder that this episode depressed me? By this time, the sisters had figured out that someone was rewinding time and they cast a spell to break Tempus' time loop. Unfortunately, this act left Andy permanently dead. I supposed I should have foreseen this when I first saw "Déjà Vu All Over Again" all those years ago due to the scenes that featured Prue meeting Andy in a park to warn him about Rodriguez. Although their first meeting came off as slightly businesslike, their second and third scenes grew increasingly poignant and romantic. Both Shannen Doherty and T.W. King were excellent in these scenes.

Not only did this episode featured first-rate performances from Doherty and King, I was also impressed by the rest of the cast. All of them gave solid performances. Although I found him a tad over-the-top at times, 
Carlos Gomez was appropriately intimidating as the demonic assassin out to kill the Charmed Ones. But it was David Carradine who gave the best performance as the time manipulator, Tempus. He was witty, elegant and menacing. It seemed a pity that he never made a second or third appearance on the show. Even worse, his character was mentioned before being killed off-screen in the Season Three finale, (3.22) "All Hell Breaks Loose".

I am certain that my brief apathy toward "CHARMED" must have been figured out by now. This episode marked the last appearance of T.W. King as Andy Trudeau and it took me a long time to recover from this - over a year, to be exact. I had first became a fan of King, when I saw him in the short-lived series, "TIME COP". His portrayal of the sharp and no-nonsense Andy only solidify my admiration of him. Unlike Julian McMahon, of whom I also became a great fan, King's last episode proved to be first-rate and probably one of the best in the series. It seems a pity that it also proved to be one of the saddest for me.

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